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January 14, 2010

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With canned and frozen fruit, "choice" means very good but not the best; the best fruit is "fancy"

I get annoyed at retail ads that say something like "pants or skirt, your choice! Just $9.99"

I can't help thinking - of course it is my choice, you idiot. Do you think I would pay the $10 and let you choose which I get?

Dad always corrected the usage, "You have two choices". (Choice implies at least two options.)

If there were more than two options he would say, for example, "You have a choice of four options". Was Dad right?

Duchesse: According to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage (1994), your father's interpretation of "choice" is a "folk belief ... which seems to rest on the notion that _choice_ has but a single meaning ... We have been unable to find such a concern expressed in our collection of usage books." Indeed, the "choice" of "multiple choice" (or "multiple-choice test") is synonymous with "option." MWDEU concludes: "You can use this sense if you need to. It is standard."

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